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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

National Appeal

The Bucs are drawing network attention even in May, as FOX broadcasters James Brown and Terry Bradshaw visit on Tuesday


Buccaneers Head Coach Tony Dungy (left) and FOX broadcaster James Brown get situated for an interview on Tuesday

Success in the National Football League has become a 12-months-a-year proposition. The idle days of past offseasons have given way to constant workout sessions, free agency maneuvering and playbook planning.

For all practical purpose, the offseason no longer exists, and that apparently applies to network talent, as well. On Tuesday, James Brown and Terry Bradshaw traded in the air-conditioning of the FOX NFL studios for the sudden heat that has gripped Tampa, even though the first pre-game and half-time shows are still several months away.

Brown and Bradshaw landed in Tampa for the first leg of a selective NFL tour designed to produce a series of halftime shows for NFL Europe games. The NFLEL is nearing the halfway point of its 10-game spring and summer season.

The FOX crew is visiting just four team sites for this preview piece: New York, where the Giants are coming off a Super Bowl berth; Philadelphia, home of the best turnaround story of 2000; and Detroit, where former FOX announcer Matt Millen is the Lions' new general manager.

In Tampa, the duo filmed interviews for a piece focusing on the Buccaneers' impressive string of offseason roster moves, particularly the addition of Pro Bowl QB Brad Johnson. Bradshaw interviewed Johnson in the morning and Brown's Q&A with Head Coach Tony Dungy followed shortly after noon.

FOX will air its Buccaneer pre-season story during halftime of the NFLEL game between the Rhein Fire and the Frankfurt Galaxy on Sunday, May 27. The game will be broadcast live in the U.S. on FOX beginning at 1:00 p.m. EDT.

That contest will also feature four players allocated to the NFLEL by Tampa Bay: punter Andrew Bayes, guard Wilbert Brown and cornerback Terrance Parrish of the Galaxy and wide receiver Eddie Hardaway of the Fire.

Dungy could tune into the Fire-Galaxy game to see the Bucs' NFLEL representatives as well as FOX's take on the Buccaneers' 2001 outlook. He has yet to see any live NFLEL action this spring but has followed the progress of Hardaway (eight receptions for 91 yards and one touchdown) and the others.

"We keep track of our players and how they're doing, and I've been given the reports on them," said Dungy, "but I haven't watched any of the games yet."

Even so, he is pleased to have a handful of Buccaneer hopefuls playing the league.

"I think it really helps," said Dungy. "There are guys who have talent but the only thing they're missing is playing time, and they get that over there. They get a chance to really hone their skills in game situations."

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